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Top10 Most Popular Podcasts in 2020


This week we switch things up a bit by looking back at our most popular podcasts. Without revealing who made the list, we can hint that we had international guests, industry influencers and some very dedicated Sew Powerful volunteers. We will play short snippets from each of the ten podcasts that made the list. If you've not listened before or maybe missed a few episodes, this will give you a shortcut to the episodes everyone is talking about.


Designs in Machine Embroidery, DIME, Sao Palo, Brazil, fashion design, Sherlock Holmes, doll collecting, Sew Powerful, Pixie Faire, Olive Branch Ministry, local culture, Sew Sofia, UK, Anita by Design, executive women, home fires


We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.

Designs in Machine Embroidery,

Pixie Faire,

Olive Branch Fair Trade Gift Shop and Missions,

A Bit of Stitch,

Sew Sofia,

Anita by Design,


The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.


Host: Jan Cancila

Guest: Eileen Roche, Gloria Cardoza, Sue Banman Sileci, Victoria Batista, Marcy Mahle, Cinnamon Miles, Vivian Sylvester, Evie Hawkins, Kathy Simonsen, Louise Ambrosi, Anita Morris, Christina Porter


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started.


Jan 00:21

Welcome to today's podcast. We're going to take a look back at 2020 and all the podcasts that we've recorded, and I've selected the Top 10 based on how many listens each has had. So just like they do on the radio, we're going to take snippets, and we're going to play them backwards, starting with number 10. Here we go. Coming in at number 10 is a podcast that was published originally on September the third, 2020. And it features Eileen Roche and Gloria Cardoza. You may know if you're an embroiderer, you may know Eileen, because she is the founder and CEO of Designs and Machine Embroidery, or as most everybody calls it, DIME. Listen to Eileen as she talks about what she sees as the future of the sewing industry.


Eileen Roche, Guest 01:21

I think that COVID is changing the face of the sewing industry. It is attracting more customers that are new to the hobby or are coming back to the hobby. They're pulling that machine out of the closet and using it and finding the joy of sewing that maybe they have missed or never known about. So, I do think we're seeing growth that will continue to grow in increments. And I think it's our job as executives in the sewing industry to keep that new customer engaged and give her more reasons to sew. When she gets done doing masks, she should go on and do purses for Sew Powerful.


Jan 02:03

Our podcast number nine was an ambitious effort. Sue Banman Sileci, who is our Regional Coordinator in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a fashion design student, Victoria Batista, gave us a talk, but but really sort of turned my thoughts on their head as it relates to fashion. They talk about fashion as an agent for social change. So, listen to this bilingual snippet from the episode that originally aired at the end of August.


Victoria Batista, Guest 02:38

[Speaking in Portuguese]


Sue Banman Sileci, Guest 02:40

She became involved with the program after Katsia Prado, another student at the University, had a thesis that she was trying to prove, which was that fashion isn't just fashion; that it can be an agent for social change. And so, she was working with Katsia just a little bit and two of the professors at the University found out about Sew Powerful through me and then came to talk to them about starting a project.


Jan 03:06

Okay, let's keep going: Podcast number eight. In this podcast we meet Marcy Mahle, who has a very positive attitude. She is the President-elect of the Ohio Valley Doll Collectors Club, and what a doll collection she has. She's also a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, and you put those two things together, along with her passion for Sew Powerful, and we had a really great time talking. Listen to what Marcy says, when we start talking about Sew Powerful.


Marcy Mahle,. Guest 03:42

We all have a power inside of us to make ourselves shine in some way. And I think we surprise ourselves. We all think, ‘Oh, I can't do this, or I can't do that.’ But I think when we're faced with situations, we can do so many things that we never dreamed we could possibly do. And I always like to encourage other people to sew. It's something they can do. I taught myself how to sew. No one taught me. I just sat down and read the directions and just did it. I used to sew by hand a lot. Now I'm going back to sewing by hand for the Hooray Dolls. But I used to do that by hand before I got a machine and I think we're capable of doing whatever we want to do.


Jan 04:27

I knew it was going to come in to the Top 10, our inaugural podcast where we talked with Jason and Cinnamon Miles and they tell us the backstory to Sew Powerful. In this little snippet Cinnamon actually gets pretty choked up talking about you, the purse makers, and what that means to you and and because it means so much to you, how that really affects her. Let's listen.


Cinnamon Miles, Guest 04:55

First time when I sat there, and you know skimmed the book and I'm looking at the first half and get to that part of those stories. And I, you know, I think I was crying like, just reading those, realizing that, like, we had focused so much on the ministry on the Zambia side. And we knew that, you know, that we needed to come alongside that. And we actually have two sides of a ministry to a whole bunch of people that have something that they, like, you know, ‘What's my calling? How do I give back? How do I, you know, participate in a missions kind of way?’, or anything like that without leaving their house? You know, and I think I struggled with that for a while, before we, you know, really settled on this being a program that we could do together. And it's, how does it fit into your everyday life?


Jan 05:49

Thank you, Cinnamon, that was great. I just want to say, the reason we're doing the Top 10 is to just give you a taste of some of our most popular podcasts. So, if you haven't listened, or if you haven't listened to one of the episodes we're featuring today, I urge you to go to your favorite podcast platform, and now we're on all of them. We're on Stitcher, I Heart Radio, Pandora, Apple podcast (I'm sure I'm leaving out another one), but all the main ones and even some of the minor ones, you will find Sew Powerful podcasts. So please tune in. There's a new episode every Thursday. We publish a little video teaser on Tuesday that will just give you an idea of what's coming up in the next couple of days. And we publish that in the Sew Powerful Purse Project and on the Sew Powerful page, both in Facebook. Okay, let's move on. We are now on podcast number six. This is going to be no surprise if you watch any of the Facebook Live unboxing parties and you hear, time after time after time, a box that's been sent by Olive Branch Ministries or Vivian Sylvester. We're going to listen to what Vivian has to say about how they produce the huge quantities.


Vivian Sylvester, Guest 07:14

I don't have an exact total for this year but I'm going to say probably, I'm gonna say maybe a couple hundred, 200, 250 so far. I do know that in the past two years, we have sent in over 1000 purses. [Jan: Oh my goodness.] Fortunately, Flo keeps count. I always tell people I'm an English person. I'm into words, not numbers. So, but Flo keeps count, and one year she did over 600 and one year she did over 400. So, we're, I know we're over 1000. And my name just gets attached to it because I'm the return address on the box. And I try sometimes to put the Olive Banch name up there and then "in care of Vivian Sylvester," but it's my name that comes through. And I'm just a small part of that. That is, that is a group project that involves many, many volunteers at the Olive Branch.


Jan 08:14

We're going to pause for a break here in just a moment. But before we do, I want to just recap the five podcasts that we featured so far in our Top 10 countdown. At number 10 we had Introduction to Designs and Machine Embroidery by Eileen Roche. At number nine we had our Regional Coordinator from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sue Banman Sileci, and her design student give us a bilingual snippet. Number eight was published on the 20th of August and featured Marcy Mahle with a very positive attitude, an avid doll collector, a really interesting person. Number seven, we got back to the very beginning when we talked to Jason and Cinnamon in that podcast and our little snippet featured Cinnamon with a very heartfelt comment. And finally, and the last one we just did, was number six with Vivian Sylvester and she gave us a little idea of how the Olive Branch Ministry produces so many purses for Sew Powerful every year.


Jan 09:28

We're going to take a break and when we come back, we're going to finish our Top 10 and if you're listening right now, you might be writing some comments or guessing who you think's going to be number one. We will see you on the other side.


Jan 09:43

Have you gotten the second edition of the We Are Sew Powerful book? This updated version of the original best seller, 4.9 out of five stars by the way, is again authored by Sew Powerful co-founders Jason and Cinnamon Miles. It is available on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle reader. This latest edition is packed full of moving stories about how Sew Powerful came to be, the volunteers who make it happen, and the way this small movement has grown into a global mission to break the cycle of poverty through education and the dignity of work. And don't forget, when you place your order, if you use and designate Sew Powerful as your preferred charity, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase right back to Sew Powerful. And now back to our podcast.


Jan 10:48

Welcome back. We're continuing our Top 10 countdown. And we've already heard snippets from podcasts 10 through 6 so now we're into the top five. Podcast number five on our list is one where we introduced you to Evie Hawkins, who is the founder and owner of an online embroidery design company called A Bit of Stitch. And Evie can mention because she digitized making the flap for the beginner purse in the hoop on an embroidery machine. So if you're an embroiderer (which I always find a hard word to say), if you are an embroiderer you will love having this file that Evie made and donated to Sew Powerful. And as I record this, Natalie Wellman posted in Facebook today a picture of a purse that she did the flap in the hoop. And it is just stunning. So I was very excited to talk to Evie. And we published her episode on July the ninth and it comes in at number five. Listen to what Evie has to say.


Evie Hawkins, Guest 12:00

Well, besides the fact that I can work in my pajamas most of my day, and I don't have set hours, you know, if I want to work all night long, then I can sleep in in the morning. So that's a reward on its own. But mostly, I think it's really, really, really makes me totally happy, insanely happy, is when I see what's come out of my heart, what I've created out of love, being stitched and loved in the hands of these wonderful creative and talented and amazing people that I meet. And I hearing their stories and learning things from them. Because I've learned so much stuff from my own customers. They are always teaching me things and they become friends. So, if, I don't know how to put that in words, that's a reward that doesn't have a price. It's priceless, isn't it? And that's just, there's not one day that goes by that I'm not completely thankful and grateful that I get to do what I get to do.


Jan 13:02

Ranking number four is the podcast where Kathy Simonsen talked about her trip to Ngombe Compound in Lusaka, Zambia. And as part of that conversation, Kathy talks about the importance of knowing the local culture, supporting the local culture, and walking beside them. Listen to Kathy's words as she talks about why that's important to her.


Kathy Simonsen, Guest 13:28

Very important to me that the vision for this was local, was from a local woman, Esther. And she had a a vision to start a school because these kids weren't even going to school. And that's when Jason and Cinnamon were able to visit her and she said, ‘Well, you know, what we'd like to do is, is hire some women and and help them.’ And then it's it's all about us as Americans, or all over the world, coming alongside a local person's dream who has, who knows the culture, knows what the needs are. And we're just helping them. We're not coming in with our own ideas and saying this is what you need. So that was very, very important to me, that that that it came from the local's vision because they know their culture.


Jan 14:28

Again, that was Kathy Simonsen at spot number four. We went international again when we recorded the podcast that turns out to be ranked number three. We spoke with Louise Ambrosi, who serves as the Facebook Administrator for Sew Powerful in the UK. And we had such a fun conversation. And the things that Louise is doing over there relating to Sew Powerful and making masks and her company where she actually makes bags, although we would maybe call them purses in the United States. As we were talking and Louise was describing a design, she talked about elephants and butterflies. And the moment she said the word butterflies, two butterflies flew behind her in the background. Now, I recorded this on Zoom originally with Louise, so I could see what was going on. That little segment didn't make it into our video's snippet. But I said if we could get 100 listens to Louise's podcast, I would take that snippet that included the butterflies flying behind her in her English garden as she talked about butterflies. We are so close to being able to see the butterflies. You should go back and look for the podcast that has Louise's name on it, ‘Sharing In Aqua Aerobics With Louise Ambrosi.’ Let's listen to Louise at spot number three.


Louise Ambrosi, Guest 16:05

I think with the Sew Powerful Purse Facebook group is is such a friendly and caring group. And I think just just having a little interaction every day with whoever's on there, whoever happens to be making a purse, and having a little chat or helping someone out. It's it's, it makes it all worth it, really, knowing that they're going out of their way to make a purse for a young girl. And even if I'm not making a purse that day, I can, or for a long while, I can at least help them along.


Jan 16:41

That was Louise Ambrosi, ranking number three on our list. Our second most popular podcast of 2020 is a podcast I recorded in August with Anita Morris, who is the founder of a company called Anita By Design. Now Anita is an Ambassador for Babylock and I actually found her name and profile on the Babylock website. And so, I reached out to her and you know, I've reached out to to many industry influencers and some of them just ignore us because, well, I guess maybe they haven't yet heard of the Sew Powerful Podcast. But Anita was so gracious, and she agreed right away to be in the podcast. We recorded it and it turns out to be a very popular podcast. Anita is a woman of faith, a woman who sews beautifully, and has such a kind heart. It was just really a thrill that she agreed to do it. And so, I'm very excited to say that ‘Anita By Design with Anita Morris’ is the podcast that ranks number two on our list for 2020.


Anita Morris, Guest 17:53

My typical video is sewing. I do sewing tutorials; I do sew-a-longs; I do pattern reviews. Yeah, that's, I do all the fun stuff. I make people happy. But you know one one thing when I when I did start the channel, I decided I want to give people all of me. It's sewing, but when you come to my channel, when you when you come to my blog, you're getting Anita. That's why I call it ‘Anita By Design’. Because the way God has created me is the way you're going to see me.


Jan 18:30

If you get a chance, please go back and listen to the episode with Anita Morris. You're really going to enjoy it. Now, let's get to -- drum roll -- episode that ranks number one. Before I reveal the title of the podcast episode that ranks number one, I'd like to read the description that that accompanied it. A Type A CEO with little time for giving, Christina Porter finds herself and her family in a totally different state of mind after a devastating fire destroys her home, including her sewing room and everything in it. In this episode, we explore how this life changing event became a heart changing experience. Spoiler alert, Sew Powerful plays a big part. In the snippet I'm about to play, Christina talks about her affinity for Africa because of the earlier travels she experienced in her younger years. Christina talks about what she sees in Africa and contrasts it to the opportunities her daughters have at home, and how Sew Powerful can help bridge that gap. Let's listen to the podcast that ranks number one entitled ‘Our Burning Home with Christina Porter’.


Christina Porter, Guest 19:57

Of all the travels that I did, I loved Africa and felt very, very connected to the place and and actually, before I came across Sew Powerful, was trying to find a way that I could contribute that would have something to do with Africa. So, it felt like when I learned about Sew Powerful, that it was a coming together of many of the things that I love and many of the things that I was appreciative for: that my children have been able to benefit from in terms of their education and that they can be whatever they want to be. It doesn't matter about them being a girl. So, my passion for the girls, for education for the girls, for opportunity for girls, and yes, absolutely my my affinity for Africa that came from my early travel.


Jan 20:52

I hope you've enjoyed this little walk down memory lane. I'm saying that assuming that you've listened to these podcasts previously. But if you haven't, I hope we've enticed you to go back and listen, or maybe listen again. Thank you so much. This has been a fun exercise. And in general, I've really enjoyed having the opportunity to record podcasts and bring the mission of Sew Powerful to the public's attention. If you have a chance, please share our podcast with your friends and family. It's one of the ways that Sew Powerful can reach a broader audience and get the word out. Thank you for listening. We'll see you next week when we'll have another brand new episode.


Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at